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Advertising on the Net

Advertising on the net is not really happening in a major way in India. Most people feel that it is too early to comment on this issue. Others feel that there is a huge untapped potential, provided we do things the right way. In spite of the fact that many dotcoms have crashed, most people agree that the net is here to stay. Imagine a world without e-mails! The Internet has changed the character of business, it has changed the lifestyle of people, it has changed the way we communicate and the way we conduct business.

Getting a great eyeball rate doesn't really get converted into ad revenues, because there are no proper standards of judging traffic. Parametres such as clicks per month, total number of pageviews, and click throughs etc are viewed with suspicion, as there are no third party audits to justify these claims.So standardisation is one issue. The other issue we are faced with is, what do we have to do to convert traffic into ad revenues? Ad revenues can happen only if we are able to sustain 'regular viewership' as in television viewership. People get onto the net for various reasons. Offering information and services that are relevant to all 'groups' is the key. Many companies in India are looking at the net as a serious medium for advertising. Among those spending resources on this medium are music companies, publications and FMCGs.

The most preferred sites according to a leading media planner from a prominent ad agency in the city is, "any site that makes sense across the country/countries. Nobody goes through a brandsite for more than one or one-and-a half times. But various segments of people come to portals for various reasons. Brandsites will do better to have links through these sites. Portals can be the best medium or 'the' medium for advertisement, as they offer a little of something to everyone".Lets listen to what others have to say on this...

Sumantra Sen Gupta, Vice President & Client Services Director, HTA, Chennai

MSN Banner adRight now a miniscule number at home is surfing the net. When this number becomes large, you should find ways of reaching it. Everywhere there is a realisation of the new economy. Everywhere people feel " I must learn to use the net". People are scared of letting it pass by. In HTA, we have one person dedicated just to monitor our client's presence on the net. That way, there is a strong sense of its tremendous potential.

P M Austin, CEO, Paisapower Network

Very early days...but it is the most accountable form of advertising.

N Raghunandan, Managing Director, Servion Global Solutions Ltd

It does have a future. Direct junk mail just hits you more than anything else. Effectiveness will depend on how you communicate and then how much you communicate. Though it will not take away much of print or television ads for a long time to come, it will play an important role in the future. Companies have to be aware that its a niche audience. The audience is totally different from those of the other media.

N. Sekhar, President, E-Business, Satyam Infoway

Home Trade Banner AdI will relate it to any new technology or any new finding that people go through in life. There was the gold rush, than the tulip rushÖyou have all these rushes. Initially its so hot, people do not look at fundamentals. They forget the basics of how businesses run and things like that. I think its good that it happened so fast. It did not last too long. People got hurt, hopefully not too many. What has happened is good. Good money will start to flow in. A lot more reality checks will be in place. So that castles will not be built in the air. Eyeballs will still be there. End of the day, itís a question of monetising. Like Jack Welch said the other day on CNBC, "It doesnít matter what you have on the site, if you are unable to monetise it, its not worth being there". Whether you are a newspaper site, GE, Doordarshan or BNP. There has to be some level of monetisation. Monetisation doesnít necessarily mean advertisement; it has to have a monetary value. It has to have the ability to invoke a transaction; it has to have the ability to sell itself. So itís no longer for the sake of eyeballs.

Today, people spend a lot of money on print media and TV. For them the Internet is yet another media. Many of them do not understand how this media works. So the good news on the net is we get feedback. Whereas the other media, you are not quite sure. You have to depend upon numbers that come once in a year, to get some feedback as to how your campaign went. Whereas the net being an interactive media, immediate feedback is one big advantage. But advertising on the net is not for everybody. Unless you are on the net yourself, there is no use advertising. So any company that wants to advertise on the net should have the presence. There is no use advertising when they click on the ad and you are not there. Itís not like a print ad. When the customer clicks on your ad, you should be able to take him somewhere and give him something and then make him transact. So it has to be a complete strategy. Advertising doesnít come on its own. It has to come after you define your e-strategy. Thatís the key. But advertising on the net will increase. Some people are saying it will surpass any other media in the next five years. As of today I will take it with a pinch of salt. But thatís probably closer to truth. This is the only place where you get the users attention on a one-to-one basis.

Anuradha Sriraman

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